Some people think vegetarian food is boring.
Some people say it can be dull.
I say: Nonsense!
Vegetarian food can be the boldest, funkiest, most original and creative of all cuisines! The following recipe is the perfect illustration that vegetarian dishes can indeed be quite ballsy, both figuratively and literally in this case. The cute, little beauties you see in this picture are fried goats’ cheese balls in a crunchy almond crust and are flavoured with dried cranberries, za’atar and lemon zest. These gorgous croquettes are already delicious on their own, but combined with a salad of purslane and broccocress (the cress version of broccoli, because why not?!) and dipped in a heavenly dip made with roasted red peppers, garlic, harissa and cashew nuts this dish becomes a true flavour sensation! An explosion of magnificent colours, textures and flavours, all complementing each other beautifully: what better example of delicious veggie food could you possibly wish for?
Ingredients (serves 1):
For the goats’ cheese balls:
- 200gr matured, soft goats cheese
- Handful of dried cranberries, finely chopped
- ½ tsp of lemon zest
- ½ tsp crushed pink pepper corns
- 1 tsp za’atar
- 1 tbsp flour
- 1 tbsp corn flour
- Black pepper
- 1 egg
- Flaked almonds (approx. 100gr)
For the roasted pepper and cashed dip:
- 1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into large chunks
- 1 small tomato
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Handful of cashew nuts
- ½ tsp harissa paste
- 1 tsp honey
For the salad:
- 150gr purslane, washed
- 100gr broccocress (or regular water cress/ garden cress/ mustard cress)
- A small handful of cranberries
- Lemon juice
- Tiniest bit of olive oil
- Put the chunks of red pepper, tomato and garlic on a roasting tray and sprinkle with olive oil and salt. Put in a preheated oven at 250°C for about 10 minutes until the edges of the peppers are starting to char.
- Remove from the oven and put the roasted ingredients in a blender together with the cashew nuts, an extra tablespoon of olive oil, the harissa and the honey and mix until you get a lovely dip. Season to taste with salt if necessary. Put aside. (You can either serve this dip warm, cold, or in between. It will always be delicious!)
- Mix the goats’ cheese, cranberries, peppercorns, za’atar and lemon zest together in a bowl. Let it infuse for about 10 minutes, while you go on with the other elements of the dish.
- Mix the purslane and cress together with cranberries, a squeeze of lemon juice and a tiny bit of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Scatter the salad on a large plate and put the pepper dip in the middle.
- Now you can start rolling your balls! Take a tablespoon of the goats’ cheese filling and roll it into a bowl. This will be a sticky and fumbly process, but it doesn’t have to look perfect. Then roll the ball through the mix of flour, corn flour and pepper and you will see that the drop of cheese will start to look a lot more “ballsy”. Now drop the ball in the whisked egg and finally roll it through the crushed flaked almonds.
- Heat a layer of approx. 0,5cm of olive oil (or regular vegetable oil) in a small pan and fry the balls for a minute on every side, so that they look gorgeously golden-brown and are warm in the middle.
- Remove from the pan and let them drain on a piece of kitchen paper.
- Scatter the balls on top of your salad and dig in!